Vessels Pittsburgh Voyager
Welcome to Pittsburgh Voyager, a not for profit organization offering river-based educational adventure for students, teachers and the community. The centerpiece of Pittsburgh Voyager's adventure programs are two former U.S. Navy vessels docked on the North Shore that have been refitted as floating classrooms.
Explore the site to learn about the opportunities that await or click on the link below.
History of the Education Fleet
Chartering the Vessels
Pittsburgh Voyager Fleet Description
Voyager and Discovery are both 78.7 feet in length with a beam of 17.5 feet. They are each 87 gross tons and draw 5.5 feet in fresh water. The hull is made of double planked Douglas Fir and Alaskan Cedar. The boats each have twin screws with twin rudders and are powered by four General Motors Detroit 671 diesel engines with a total of 650 horsepower. Each boat travels at a maximum speed of approximately 18 knots (21 mph).
Through the generous support of local private foundations and state grants, Pittsburgh Voyager has been able to complete significant renovations to the fleet. Repairs and modifications have been made to make the vessels seaworthy, obtain approval by the U.S. Coast Guard to operate as a certified passenger vessel and provide a state-of-the-art learning environment.
Both Voyager and Discovery are equipped with five interior classroom spaces: the Main Deck Classroom, the Galley (or Fish Lab), the Crews Quarters (or Plankton Lab), the Pilothouse and the Engine Room. The bow and stern decks of both boats are utilized as outside classrooms. The 01-Deck of Voyager has been enclosed and is used as a navigation and observation deck that can be used year-round, and the 01-Deck of Discovery has been modified as a canopied multi-use classroom. Voyager is certified to accommodate 49 passengers and Discovery is certified to accommodate 40 passengers.
The Pittsburgh Voyager fleet also has a 44-foot aluminum houseboat named Scout. Scout has two interior classroom spaces and two exterior classrooms, one on the bow and a larger one on the second deck. This vessel is used primarily for education programming for smaller groups and to present programs on tributaries and outside the Pittsburgh pool.
U.S. Coast Guard Certified Vessel
Pittsburgh Voyager's fleet operates under the guidelines of the U.S. Coast Guard and each boat is inspected annually. The boats are equipped with: navigation and boat handling equipment, life jackets and buoys, fire fighting and safety equipment, first aids kits, and communication devices. Voyager provides in-depth and ongoing training programs for its full- and part-time crew members. All programs and charters are conducted with a boat crew of three - a captain with a 100-ton Masters License, a senior and a junior deckhand. As required by the U.S. Coast Guard, crew members are enrolled in a random drug test program. Crew members are also certified by the American Red Cross in CPR and First Aid.
History of the Pittsburgh Voyager's Education Fleet
The U.S. Navy Community Service Program and the Federal Surplus Bureau donated two decommissioned Yard Patrol boats to Pittsburgh Voyager. This class of boat was designed and used to train midshipmen and junior officers in the basic arts of navigation, ship handling and seamanship. YP-667, now referred to as Voyager, was built in 1966 in Stockton, California by The Stephens Brothers. YP-657, now referred to as Discovery was built in 1958, also by the Stephens Brothers. Both boats were given "Opportunity Lifts" by U.S. Navy LSD's which moved the boats from San Diego to New Orleans.
With assistance from Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans, YP-667 was transferred from the USS Harpers Ferry onto a specially made cradle placed in a barge and towed to Pittsburgh via the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers generously allowed Pittsburgh Voyager to dock YP-667 at its Neville Island facility (PEWARS) for nearly 18 months while repairs and renovations were being completed.
Avondale Shipyard offloaded YP-657 from USS Fort McHenry. The vessel was taken to a nearby shipyard for preliminary hull repairs, In May 1997, with support from the Pittsburgh's Naval Reserve Unit AD-41, and Pittsburgh Voyager crew, YP-657 departed under its own power to Pittsburgh via the Tombigbee Waterway and the Ohio River.
Pittsburgh Voyager added a third vessel to its fleet. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Surplus Bureau donated a 44-foot houseboat, originally known as the W. E. Merrill, to Pittsburgh Voyager. Renamed Scout, this vessel is used for education programming for smaller groups and to present programs on tributaries and outside the Pittsburgh pool.